My Theory on Storytelling

Once you’ve hit rock bottom, you learn and relate to it and then the sky’s the limit – just like in story telling, just like in Agile

Welcome to Valeriality

Stories are interesting. Here is my theory. When something sad is happening you bring the audience down only to bring them back up again and to do something unexpected.  Make them go on a roller coaster ride. Make them happy. Then make them sad…and happy again….and bring them down to the lowest point and pull them all the way back up. Bring them to the depths of hell, you need to show them how bad things can really be, to show then how good things can really be. It’s all about pacing and timing. You don’t want to serve the nicest dessert first, no no no. You want to save the very best for last. You want to serve them the worst dish in the world, Jell-O Salad, and then serve them the molten chocolate fudge cake. They’ll forget all the bad things that happened along the way, and they…

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Scrum, Kanban, ScrumBan…wait what?

Recently one of the Dev teams I’m the scrum master for wanted to try Kanban after seeing the success of another teams use of Kanban.  question-mark-clip-art-free-clipart-images-655x1024“Why would you do that? Why would you even let a team consider switching?” you might ask.  Something to help ease your mind or those on your team who may resist being open to such ideas –  remember its okay to try new things (be agile, not chaotic but agile – yep this is a hot topic).  Your mind might be running a million miles an hour thinking of all the by the book answers that would say not to let a team switch from one process to another, even for a possibly short time period.

how can I call myself a scrum master if I don’t even have a scrum team

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Product Owner: what it means to ‘own’ a product

Engagement + Availability = Trust

I am tempted to just post the above with nothing more, but of course there is more to being a successful Product Owner than this.  That said, engagement plus availability are certainly key!  Not only should the Product Owner be engaged and available to the customer or stakeholders, but also to the development team that is actually making this product possible.  Keep in mind, in this post I’m referring to the Product Owner (PO) being product management in the software development world.  I’m sure some of this applies to the marketing world or other, but I’m no expert in those areas.

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Forecasting timelines for Stakeholders

There has been a lot of great movement towards agile software development over the last decade or so. However, there are still a few struggles or gaps you’ll find in most organization today that claim to be agile. That is with the dilemma of how to forecast updated timelines to the customer and or stakeholders.

Product t-shirt sizing chunks of work, or forecasting based on a well-groomed backlog ?

If you ask a typical agile dev team member how they would handle providing timelines of work to be completed, you might be surprised by the answer. They might just not care about what we may or might not do six months to a year from now but more about continuously delivering what the customer wants now:

Project Plan Gantt charts and Product Roadmaps with far out timelines and Roadmaps are the old way of doing things. A constant feedback loop with the customer is the new way to do things in the agile software development world.

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People > Process

In the past, one of my dev teams had some disagreements on how product was interacting with them during sprint sessions and day-to-day as well there were some frustrations around who was owning the tools we were using for tracking teams epics, user stories, in preparation for backlog grooming, etc. Several people in a network connected by arrows

After many retrospectives and after pulling both parties aside to help guide and coach them in the right direction, myself and the dev team manager got in a room and discussed what could be done to move forward in the right direction with both product and dev on the same page.

After racking our brains, I remembered something very fundamental, it’s more about people over process which is called out in the Agile Manifesto.   Continue reading “People > Process”

Jack of All Trades, Master of Scrum

Master of Scrum, or Scrum Master, is my professional title.  Of course, I’m not silly enough to think I know all there is to know about Scrum or Agile Methodologies.  I have been fortunate to get to where I am today as a Scrum Master through previous experiences and those around me as I went through the “ranks”.

Speaking of experiences, as you can see from the About the Author section, I’ve had my fair share of different positions throughout my career.   Continue reading “Jack of All Trades, Master of Scrum”

How I got my Agile wings

        I’m currently a ScrumMaster working on three local Scrum teams, which when I started was only one small team. My first day on the team was coincidentally sprint planning day, when I was asked to hit the ground running as the new ScrumMaster. Without hesitation, I eagerly took on the challenge. From then on, I helped build and coach the team to its current size of three Scrum teams.
Thrown into a Sprint…    thrown into a sprint

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Acceptance Criteria: Agile or Waterfall?

boardA while back, I was in a scrum team’s backlog grooming session when all of a sudden one of the dev team members blurted out something about one of the user stories the team was looking at.  The dev team member didn’t like the Acceptance Criteria that was created by the Product Owner, so the dev member decided to interrupt the meeting to tell everyone that Acceptance Criteria’s where waterfall, and never meant for Agile Software development.  I gave the Product Owner and dev team members a chance to defend the need of the Acceptance Criteria’s we used in our stories, but everyone was silent and looked on in awe at the dev team members remarks. Continue reading “Acceptance Criteria: Agile or Waterfall?”